Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Use it Up .... Make it Do .. and Thrifty Gifted Goodies..

Hello there ....
hope you are all well .... having a good week..
... and hope you and yours are safe if you are accross the pond.

All is well here ... well ... it is now ....
Don't let the peaceful homely photo above fool you ....

Things were very different this time last week ...

We had a 'Chicken Licken' incident!  

Yes ... indeed ... I thought 'the sky was falling in' ... well ... at least the soot and rubbish from the old chimney was falling in.
As you can see I sent Hubby P up the chimney to investigate .... and fix it ... luckily he's a very good 'fixer'.

He got very dirty!

I won't bore you with the details ... but top and tail of the story ... £40 for a bit of specialised boarding that goes around the top/flue of the woodburner... a lot of swearing ...and one very mucky Hubby P.

So its nice to get back to normal ... as you can imagine everything and everywhere was dusty and dirty so we painted the sitting room whist we were at it ... and the bedroom ...

Normal being of course... squeezing as much as I can out of as little as I can.
Just look at these lovely peaches .... past their best for selling but good enough for me ...
a gift from Colin the veg .. for me to 'use up'.

And very nice they were too ... in a big rustic fruit crumble with a dollop of custard.

Use it Up ...
Well .. I had a rummage around in the fridge ... and pulled out some mashed potato .. well .. mash and the remains of the veg we had for dinner the last night ... still good wholesome stuff.

I gave it a good old mash up and added a bit of marg and a sprinkle of strong cheese....

And ... with a bit of flour formed it into potato cakes to fry up with some sausages (value range ... it is midweek)
... Hubby P likes a nice sausage.

More gifted goodies ..

Just look at these wonderful grapes..

 Beautiful things ...
Given to me from a friend who is moving house and just hadn't the time to deal with them.
They are a wine variety i think .. lots of pips in them and a bit tart ... but to be honest ..
the last thing I fancied was Hubby P whipping off his socks with ideas of treading them for wine.
We have enough of a fermentation issue with the socks!
So I cooked um up .. put them through a jelly bag and made into jelly.
Lovely ruby red jelly .. bit on the runny side ... I should have added some pectin ...but I hadn't any so there you are ... 
A nice addition to the store cupboard.

Don't forget ... the Tuppenny Houses draw (last post) .. I will do the draw tomorrow... and find new homes for the little houses, there are two to win.


Thursday, 25 October 2012

Tuesday's Tuppenny-penny Houses .....Valley Car Boot Sale..

Hello there ..
... has that got you thinking...   
'well .. whats a tuppenny penny house then .. 


It was a cold and chilly morning ... I know
 ...most mornings are now 
... but Tuesdays we are up extra early to trade at Valley car boot sale.

Its pretty dark when we get there but lots of other traders are already there setting up ... and its very friendly and jolly ... so long as you are wrapped up warm ... all's well

I give Hubby P a hand setting out the bits and bobs ... china is always popular.

The glass ware sparkles in the lamplight ... it could be an evening 'supper entertainment' not a cold damp morning at silly o'clock in the morning!

Hubby P.... 'big strong man' or 'very silly man' ... that he is... heaves all these boxes out of the van 
These rummage boxes are full of house clearance type stuff .... all sorts of everything.... to be sold at silly pence per item .... he gets lots of this stuff every week .. so it has to go quickly ... so  its cheap and cheerful.

And so the trading day begins ....

Twas a bit slow my end ... and you know how you get that 'creative -y thing' that urge to hold a needle .. to have a mess about ..

Well I found some bits of felt ... and well ... had a bit of a mess about..
 I suppose I was thinking of the wee folk .. of fairies and imps and magical things ... 

I just let the needle wander where it would ... its a while since I played with the embroidery silks.

Of course all the little houses have little wood burning stoves to keep itsy bitsy fairy feet nice and toasty ... you can see they have lovely big chimneys that puff away gently ...
If... when you wander the fairy glens ...amongst the gentle mists of Autumn .... and smell the air ... 
... can you not just get a whiff of their woodsmoke ... sweet brier burning brightly ... with a cheery glow.   

So there we are .... Tuppenny penny houses ....
Ah ... but wait ...why Tuppenny penny?

I thought we would have a ... 'Bit Of A Giveaway' ... bit of fun..
So ... any ideas? 
Why do I call them Tuppenny Penny Houses?

Leave me a comment and I will do a draw next Thursday.. 1st Nov I believe (and let you into the secret)
 ... and the winner will receive their very own Tuppenny Penny House ... complete with resident fairies. 

xx  Take care  xx 

Monday, 22 October 2012

Nothing Wasted ....

Hello there ...
Just a quick 'hello' ... just like to check in with my Blog Girlie's .. and boys of course..
Its part of my evening relaxation .. seeing what you've all been doing with your day ... a nice part of my day.

Anyway 'Waste Not Want Not' as they say...

We had our sausage casserole for supper yesterday .. and very nice it was too.
After I has taken the sausages out of the casserole.. and given us both a good helping of the sauce ... there was still lots of the sauce-y stuff left ... lots of rich tasty tomato based sauce.

Too nice to waste. 

 So I pulled a little lamb mince out of the freezer and fried it up with some onion ... I found the end of a cabbage and a few peas.

 Added the mince mix to the casserole (and a few leftover cooked potatoes) ..and gave it a good heating through.
I had a lump of pastry in the freezer so I pulled that out this morning and it defrosted nicely in time to be rolled out and put on top of the casserole/pie

And very tasty it was too ...
 Just looking back at photos/posts seems I always use the same roasting/casserole/pie dish ... well i do ... its not that I haven't others but this one seems to be the right size shape... and ...well.. handiness.
 Is it me or do you use the same equipment ... does it sometimes just taste better from a particular dish or pan?


Sunday, 21 October 2012

'Yesteryears' thrift ... Chips and Egg....and a Piano!

Hello there ...
I hope you are enjoying your Sunday ... I'm having a rare Sunday at home today.
Its a lovely sunshiny day here.... blue sky... just a nip in the air. 

I've just lit the fire ... starting to get chilly and I have some washing to dry. I thought the smoke looked pretty against the blue of the sky.

 It maybe sunny but Autumn is well and truly showing her colours .. the garden is littered with leaves and I have to sweep the path daily... I have a nice little habit of slipping on the wet leaves.

Hubby P is off working today (we have the van back Hurrah! ... )
He's helping someone move house ... 
but before he left he chopped me some sticks for the fire old piano no less ..
I tell you people give us all sorts of things ... including rotten old pianos ... tis all good fire wood ... 
Aalthough sad to see the end of such a lovely thing... Hubby P 'Thriftoligist'  that he is... saved the hinges and other bits of the casing to be used again.. and the rest was weighed in at the scrap yard.

 Just a random pic .. not very good ... but I managed to capture one of the Buzzards on the wing ...enjoying the sunshine and blue sky. 
He was right above me.

 I have done some work today .... its my job to sort clothes ...not very exciting but there you have it ... it makes a few pennies.
Good Thrifty Snippet..
 As I mentioned above people give us all sorts ... and although we don't really sell a lot of clothing ....there is so much of it around ... the world just seems to have so much... too much..

Car Boot Sales and the like are full of people trying to sell clothes.

So we don't bother with clothing ...besides Hubby P doesn't know a Primark from a Prada ... 
.... however people give us bags full of the stuff ... usually they have tried selling it ... sold a bit and just want rid of the rest ...

So I sort...
Sometimes I might find an interesting bit of fabric I want to keep ....and last week I found a brand new bath towel ... handy!
But mostly it gets bagged up and we sell it ...

...anyone can do this ... start saving your old clothes, shoes. bags etc.
Usually there is a facility in most largish towns which will buy ...
think ours is called Cash for Clothes ... or similar. They weigh the bags and give so much pence per kg.
The clothes on the washing line are some I was given yesterday ... they had got wet in the rain ... the lady just hadn't the time or inclination to mess around drying them .... so I flung them on the line and when dry will bag them up.
Its a shame they were expensive dresses.... the lady had tried to sell them on Ebay too ...just too much out there.

The world is a crazy place...        

Now whats all this about Chips and Egg?

Well I could say I was brought up on chips and egg ... 
well obviously my whole diet didn't consist entirely of egg and chips!

But it was a bit of a 'mantra' with my mother and Grandmother ... if you are going through hard times ... if money is tight ... buy a sack of spuds and a tray of eggs ... good simple cheap foods.
Of course it doesn't have to be egg and chips ...lots of splendidly filling dishes can be made from these basic ingredients.  

 'But cheap'? ... I hear you say ... not really these days ...I felt I had  to take out a mortgage to buy a sack of spuds ... £10!
 Mind you I did a few sums and worked out they were no more expensive then the cheapest Everyday Value spuds at Tesco's .. but hopefully better quality. The other day I had to cut lots away (of the Tesco's potato's) ... brown and riddled with something.
So hopefully my investment in the sack of spuds will pay off.

Whilst I was at it I looked at the price of eggs.. I can remember buying a whole tray of eggs from the market for £1 ...long gone days I fear.
Nowadays eggs range from 10p to 30p each ... 
Maybe a bit more expensive but so versatile and good for you ...
maybe we need those adverts back ...
do you remember 'Go to Work On an Egg' ?

Trying out the new potatoes tonight ... 
I've put a sausage casserole in the oven... on very low ...I don't know what time Hubby P will get in .. so it will sit quite contentedly in the oven ...nice and warming.

How's your Thrifting going?

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Everyday Dust .. Decisions ... and Daily Thrift!

Hello there ...

Here we are again ... day at home today ... doing much needed housework .. or so I tell myself .. can't say I am enthused with the idea. 
I've changed the bed and wafted about a bit with a duster..

 Everything is a bit stress-y here at the moment ... as you can see ... no big van on the drive.

Its still not fixed ... been like this for what seems like weeks ... it needs a new gearbox ... a simple thing you may think... but Oh no.. the 'Spares Men' all do that sucking their teeth thing.. and shaking their heads.
I won't bore you with all the details but Hubby P is beginning to get a bit cheesed off with the whole thing ... he is .. at this moment touring North Wales .... telephone directory under his arm broken gearbox in the boot of Richards car.... to try and find the elusive gearbox needed.

Oh ...hang on the telephone is ringing..

 Oh Hurrah!
 ... He has just telephoned me from Wrexham to say he has found one .... hopefully he will be back on the road and able to work this weekend ... one poor girl has booked him to do her house removal ... she was panicking a bit.

 And my house looks like a warehouse again ... this little lot is waiting to be sold on.

Anyway on to everyday stuff .. do you like my new little mirrors .... and I couldn't resist the blue brooch and earrings ... a girl has got to treat herself now and again. 
Do like a bit of vintage bling!

Now ... Decisions Decisions....
....this has been a hard one ... 
...when does a lady stop colouring her hair ... and embrace natures own colouring?

Well I have decided the time has come ..
to be honest I was so tired of the whole thing ... I hated using the chemicals.... the time/weeks between colouring became less and less as the roots showed more and more.... and the state of the shower curtain etc after I've finished colouring....a nightmare.
Enough! I said to myself.

So winter is on the way ... and I generally wear a hat most of the time ... so it won't be so noticeable ..then come spring I will have a new colour.
It really doesn't bother me ... after all its a natural thing ..and Hubby P is quite happy that we 'grow old and grey together' ...Ahhh

How do you feel about it?
 ... I'm hoping I wont regret it .. or rather 'have a wobble' and rush out to buy a colour .. then have to start all over again!     

Thrifty Snippet bit now ...
I've been buying firelighters from Tesco for a couple of weeks ... just to get a stock in for the bad weather ... nothing worse than damp sticks that won't light
Anyway ... they are very expensive at £1.50 a pack ... and have to be used very sparingly 

Well a thrifty friend found these at the coal merchants ... you could buy a whole boxfull... that's 24 individual boxes for £9.50.
So by my simple reckoning on a bit of paper that's just short of 40p a box ... got to be a bargain.

 I had to have a bit of a re-jig of the 'under the stairs cupboard' .... not that we have any stairs .. but that's what we call it
Its a hang over from when we were young ...and houses in the North .. or rather terraced type houses all had cupboards under the stairs and its where people kept all the 'useful' stuff.
Perhaps you can spot the spare toilet seat (for when the present one needs replacing), a spare iron ... they don't last for ever so I have a new one waiting in the wings, there is my barrel for making wine and my big Kenwood mixer, light bulbs, fuse wire, spare plugs etc etc.
Do you have a 'under the stairs cupboard' ... what is it you fell you just must hoard away?
 .... speaking of which ...I have a whole trunk full of candles.... is it me? should I be worried?

And on to food ... Hubby P will get home ...eventually..

I've just dragged all this out of the fridge/ freezer and put it in a very low slow oven ... I can pop a few dumplings in it when I know he's somewhere near home.

That's my day .... what have you been up to ... will you still speak to me when I am old and grey! he he ...

Take care x

Monday, 15 October 2012

Pie and Pudding .....

Hello there ...

Well what a day .... most of it spent outside with Hubby P on his back under the van. 

 Not a good place for his back or his stress levels .... upshot of it is the van needs a new gearbox ... bad news is the cost of a new gearbox .... I won't bore you with the long complicated saga ... although I have had to be stoic and attentive all day ... so maybe....

Anyway to help ... I thought pie would be a good answer .... and perhaps a jam sponge and custard ... I can't mend a gearbox but I can bake a cake. 

Hubby P loitering  between phone calls to the 'gearbox men'...
came to see what I was doing ... spotted the cake mix and was as  delighted as a small child .... he dipped in a finger to taste and said 'thats made it all better'....bless!

 I thought it was about time I tried to 'move with the times' and try out some of gadgets I hear you all talking about. I came across this whizzer/mixer/chopper thingy in one of Hubby P's boxes ... I think it is quite old....its very heavy....a sturdy sort of motor on it.
Anyway it works just fine...I think.

Saturday evening I cooked up some lamb/mutton with a carrot and some onion ... thinking we could warm it up on Sunday .. Sunday is a trading day and very busy ... anyway we opted for a sandwich ... I was just too tired to cook.
So the lamb needed eating today ... 'throw it in a pie'  I thought.

To bulk it out I had a tin of these ....a wonderful bargain at only 18p a tin (I've ordered more this week)... I chopped them up small added a few peas and mixed them with lamb casserole-y thing.

I made double the amount of pastry in my whizzer thing ... I will put the other half in the freezer for another day .... flung a pastry top on the lamb and put it in the oven.

 We ate it with some red cabbage I bought from Approved Foods ..... again cheap as chips and a nice change.

The sponge was a yummy success too .... doesn't look too flash sat here in its old loaf tin ... but it tasted just great with lashings of custard.
So much so ... we got carried away and ate it all up before I remembered to take a bloggie photo.

The sponge was particularly nice and light ... its the first time I have made a sponge in the whizzer thing ... I'm most impressed.

So ... whats your dish of the day .... what makes your day 'all better' ..? 

Thursday, 11 October 2012

That Wet Stuff Again ... Pie Weather..

Hello there ....
Yes .. we've got that Wet Stuff again .... its not stopped all day..

 Every thing in the garden is looking soggy and bedraggled...

...lots of colour but looking damp and dreary.

Its so easy to feel dreary yourself if you are not careful ...
there is a lot of cold winter ahead of us ... can't start to feel dreary so soon.

I need to keep busy and feel I am doing something useful... something to help stock up the larder or 'put by' for tough times .... I do believe they are putting up the cost of power gas/electricity ...  Oh joy! 

 Anyway the oven was on low warming up some of last nights Lamb Hotpot ... for today's lunch .... so I made a couple of sweet pies.
Simple fillings of jam (for Richard) and some of the Mincemeat I made the other day (it is yummy)...
..a simple warming treat with a dollop of custard.

We had a simple dinner of boiled eggs and toast (dippy eggs and soldiers).
 I am trying to cut back on the amount of meat we eat ...after all we  don't need meat everyday ... although Hubby P does does enjoy it and has a fright if I try to introduce him to a chick pea.

Even Percy the pigeon was looking a bit fed up today .... he tends to hang around the garden when Hubby P is out and about.

 Here he is having a chat with Hubby P ... you can just see him on top of the bird house.

I stayed inside out of the wet... thinking of what useful thing I could do to prepare... to stock up... I thought the best thing would be to try and make a few pennies.
I had spent all my paypal 'savings' on a Approved Food order last week .. so I need to replenish funds.

So I set about listing a few bits and bobs on ebay .... its been a wonderful thing for me ... I don't ever get huge prices for things ... I just list little bits ... but it all adds up 'many a mickle makes a muckle' all that.
There must be lots of ways of earning extra money ... and every little helps ... after all you wouldn't walk past a 50p coin in the street and not pick it up ... every little helps.
In the dim and distant past ... even pre Hubby P ... not quite the stone age .. but a while ago...I was on my own with two small children.
Money was very tight .... I did ironing for people, cleaning, baking, sewing, delivering leaflets, selling crafts, babysitting, and even a stint at making/packing Christmas cards ... they sent us the wrong ones to pack ....full of glitter ...
My friend and I had a kind of conveyor belt system going with the children helping .... gosh .. there was glitter everywhere ...we were finding it months later.
The things we did for a few extra pounds ... every little helped.

There was no ebay then ... I could put a card up in the Newsagents window ..'Such and such For Sale' but I remember being a little afraid of having strange people come to the house ...being on my own.... tis indeed a different world nowadays.

So .... every little helps ... what is it you do to make a few extra pounds.... what can we all do .... any ideas?